Von Sell is Your New Favorite Electronic Purveyor of Sound — Debut EP is an Addictive Symbiosis of Synths, Drum Machines and Those Titillating Vocals
Words: Zoë Elaine
You may have heard of the up-and-coming Brooklyn artist Von Sell through his dominance on Hype Machine, or some other outlet of the blogosphere. His sound is based on a subgenre of electronica that has gained immense popularity recently, marked by synths and drum machines that work in an optimistic symbiosis. Some of the most recognizable mainstream pop stars (Bieber, Jepsen) have employed it on recent works in keeping ahead of the trend, but for Von Sell it’s a natural fit, adding layers of joy to his already whimsical music.
David Von Sell is aloof but driven; his first single was revealed in early 2015 and he has been slowly building his career ever since. Focused only on the music, he still has yet to release any sort of music video or even any tour dates outside the Big Apple. Only recently (this past October) did he finally drop his first official release, a six track self-titled EP, which has proven to be a colorful and impressive debut.
Most of the stories in his songs are marked by bright emotion, but never any clichés. You may hear a song or two about heartache but there are memorable details in his lyrics that truly define who Von Sell is as a songwriter. Some tracks feel like conversations, others are more self-reflective, and occasionally this overlaps, like in “Names,” when it feels like Von Sell is reaching out to his younger self. The daring chorus of “I Insist” embraces heartbreak and confirms that the title is a misnomer; it is more common to insist when you intend to do good for someone else, but Von Sell uses the chorus to challenge a lover to do him harm. Another important moment on the release lies in his first single, “Ivan,” which broadly laments the changing nature of a relationship, but the title refers to a hairdresser:
“Oh no what are you gonna do my love
You’re gonna leave me hanging like you did before
You’ve got yourself a perfect haircut”
“Miss Me” stands out as Von Sell’s most sensitive song to date. Lone notes from a guitar open the track and are followed by Von Sell’s light coos. Never do the electronics overwhelm, which prevents dilution of the sentiment therein, specifically, an immense loneliness. By the second verse, the vocals spin loosely around a central melody, imitating his mind as it spirals in pain, eventually returning to a sad reality: “I miss you. Baby, won’t you miss me?”
Von Sell also exemplifies some of the most defining characteristics of one of his greatest influences, Rufus Wainwright, through his vocal styling and piano pop structures. Von Sell employs a lot of vibrato and edits it all precisely; in fact, he’d even go as far as to call himself a “sloppy perfectionist- ridiculously OCD about certain details of the songs, and quite laissez-faire about others.” The best track on the new record, “Stay,” is one that he fought with even after he had decided to release it, re-uploading a new version after blogs had already begun to repost. Vocal chops comprise more than half the song, considering the self-harmonies and looped ah’s that together with the drum machines are responsible for the catchiest hook of the year.
For his first official release, this self-titled EP seems perfect. Of course, given Von Sell’s impulses, it went through many different iterations before going public. It was even once meant to feature another song after “Stay,” which was cut, but he promised me that it will see a proper release sometime soon. Other than that, he hasn’t given much more indication of what’s to come. With so much yet to see and hear from the young musician, we can settle in for the long haul.
Follow Von Sell on Facebook for upcoming tour dates, new music and news. Stream Von Sell’s debut EP below.